Monday, 5 May 2008

If In Doubt... Repeat...

On April 18th I did a spoken word performance called "If in doubt repeat..." performed at Crowd6 in Bearwood alongside Edward Bond, David Miller, Ana Benloch, Stuart Tait, Matt Westbrook and Michael Hesp among others. This version was sub-titled "Buy" as the piece is one of a series of durational word-based works, using a very simple concept of repetition.

The idea is simply to repeat a word or phrase for as long as I can or until I make a mistake, and this usually gives some interesting results. The series includes; “I Don’t Know” (2005), “Art is Good” (2005) and “Data” (2008 -30mins).

Here's a bit from the proposal I made to Crowd6 : "Through repetition, the phrases gather new meanings and readings, via variation and mishearing. Human behaviour often intervenes or interrupts such as sighing, yawning, breathing or laughing and betray other human processes affecting this simple procedure. Throughout the duration of each video I become increasingly tired - introducing an aspect of endurance and motivation.

Facial expressions add to the reading of the words and give insight into my thoughts and feelings. Rhythms emerge and sounds begin to take recognisable patterns. Regional dialect and pronunciation also play a part in the sounds formation.

The performances can be humorous, frustrating, at times expressive and at others not. Spiritual mantra’s are called to mind, or perhaps rote learning or memorising. ‘I Don’t Know’ works around a theme of uncertainty, failure and struggle. ‘Art is Good’ entertains themes of creative license, brainwashing and belief. ‘Data’ introduces a theme of digital reproduction, information processing and offers a human equivalent.

These pieces are intended to highlight human variation (intended or otherwise) in language and emotion through time and repetition, and our fluctuations in the reading of them."

For "Buy" I wore a jacket and sunglasses and repeated the word non-stop as if giving a lecture to the audience. A variation for this piece involved shortening it, as previously most of the performances had been around 30-40 minutes, and I was asked to make this more like 5 minutes, so, as a way of limiting the time, I gradually raised the volume of my voice until I was shouting "BUY!BUY!BUY!" at the top of my voice (although in reality I could have probably gone further - I thought I'd spare the seated audience).

I hear there is some footage on DV of it somewhere.. maybe I should chase it up...

Edward Bond - pirate, minor deity and possibly the universe's finest dancer has also blogged the event here. Go Read!

Ed & Dave's previous show '
Wunderkammer' curated by Kate Pennington-Wilson and Charlie Levine at BIAD has also been posted on Ed's Blog here and Ana Benloch has also posted on it here.

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